I was a young bride. 24 years old. And ‘Everyday Cooking’ by Dr. Dean Ornish was all the rage. I mean, Everyday cooking? That means it’s something that I can do. Right? I don’t recall why – maybe it was because I desired to be healthier, or if I felt like it was my role as a wife to cook – but I chose a recipe from the book, bought all of the ingredients, and started following the recipe. That was 1/2 of my lifetime ago – but I still recall standing in that kitchen, looking in the pot of food, wondering where I went wrong?!? It did not look like the picture. And as the end result started to get more and more away from the picture in the cookbook, I started course correcting, however as a new cook, I ended up with a soupy mess that tasted just Read More . . .
We all have exercises that we like, and therefore do a lot; and there are exercises that we dislike, and don’t do, unless we’re forced. I have them too. We tend to gravitate towards those bodyparts that we enjoy training, and steer clear from those that we don’t. The problem with doing the same exercises over and over again (and not doing others ever) is that you risk injury. When one group of muscles is significantly stronger than another group, you will move differently than if your muscles are balanced in strength. Strong muscles pull on other muscles in the body, and weaker muscles stretch out. An example of that might be if you have weak lower back, the stronger muscles in the glutes and hamstrings will pull on your lower back muscles. That could pull your pelvis out of alignment, and cause pain not only in your lower back, but also Read More . . .
So, here’s the scene: It’s after dinner, and you want something. A banana. But you don’t eat it. Because you heard that it’s got a lot of starch in it. And sugar. And they can also have a lot of calories! And all of that is bad to have before you go to bed. So you eat a handful of almonds. Because even though they can be higher in calories, at least they don’t have any starch or sugar. And that’s good because you’ve heard that at least it won’t raise your blood sugar before bed. But the almonds don’t really hit the spot. So you find some fat free Greek yogurt. And you put a touch of honey in it to sweeten it a little. But that’s okay because you read that you should always eat carbohydrates with protein – because protein slows down the spike in blood sugar. And Read More . . .
There are hundreds upon hundreds of personal trainers in your city – let alone the US or the world. Have you ever had one? How did you pick him/her? What do you look for when you hire a personal trainer? Certification? Years of experience? Did you stalk her, watch her train other clients to see how she interacted with them? Or did you select her because of her body? Choosing a trainer based on looks is a bad idea. Deciding on a trainer based solely on appearance is as bad of an idea as picking a life partner out of a magazine. I don’t need to explain that. Do I? Most people have a disconnect about what a trainer can do for them. They hire a trainer with the idea that they’re going to lose weight and look toned, and so they hire a trainer who has the body style that they, themselves, desire. There Read More . . .
Although I realize that January is the beginning of the calendar year, and folks like to make health resolutions at that time of the year, but I think it’s a terrible idea. It’s no wonder that by Superbowl weekend, most resolutions are broken and forgotten. There are many reasons why resolutions go by the wayside: often times they’re vague (I’m going to get healthy!), or overambitious (I’m going to start running every day – even though I haven’t run a mile in 5 years), or there’s just no real planning behind the resolution (HOW are you going to get healthy? What steps are you going to take to accomplish that?). When looking at people’s behaviors and what factors make them change their habits, researchers discovered that many folks changed their habits after a major life event. They didn’t even realize that they were doing it. But when their life changed due to Read More . . .
People tell you that it’s going to happen but you don’t ever think it’s going to happen to you. Why is that? Why do we think that somehow our body is a special snowflake, impervious to the effects of aging? I remember hearing my sisters talking about how ‘everything changed’ once they turned 40. And clearly, I knew that some stuff was going to happen – that I’d get wrinkles, generally just look older, that where I stored fat might change, and I’d heard that it was more difficult to lose body fat as we age. But nothing really prepared me for how freakin’ sore I would be after I would take a week off from working out. Pre-40 As I think about my younger self, I’m reminded of the quote, “Youth is wasted on the young.” I’m jealous of the days that I used to be able to strength Read More . . .
I’ve never felt comfortable creating meal plans for clients. It’s just never felt right to me. Although, it’s the most popular question I get: “Elizabeth, just tell me what to eat!” I mean, sure! I can tell you what to eat – but chances are that you’re going to get bored with it. People’s tastes are so different! I love eating eggs for breakfast. But I know a LOT of folks who don’t. I can eat the same thing over & over & over again – every day. I rarely get bored with eating the same foods. But I know a lot of folks who need something new at every meal. Some people are really drawn to Asian flavors; others, not so much. Most folks like minimal preparation meals, but there are a number who have the time, and like to cook. (yes! really – they’re out there.) So, although no Read More . . .
I don’t know why, but I’m reluctant to admit that I meditate. It just seems so new-agey, and I am so NOT new-agey. Because it’s not like that. The vision that you have in your head right now? Yep – nothing like that. What is it then? I guess it’s just breathing to me. But paying attention to breathing with the intent that I’m not focusing on anything else. About once a day, (but there have been periods where I’ve totally forgotten to practice – for like weeks!) I just sit, wherever I am, and pay attention to my breathing – and then, as I’m doing it, I’ll also check in with my body. I start with trying to match the length of my inhale and exhale. Then I’ll try to make them last to a count of 4. Sometimes, to start, I repeat, “In, two, three, four. Read More . . .
It seems like balance is a never ending quest that we seek in our lives. Oftentimes, our lives feel ‘out of balance’. What does that mean to have a life that is out of balance? Spending too much time at work? Not enough time with your family? If one person feels like they have balance, if you spend the same amount of time in each of those areas as that other person, will you have balance too? Is balance a certain percentage of play, work, family/friends, health, creativity or spirituality? I think that balance is so elusive because it’s different for everyone. Introverts and extroverts would certainly be different in the amount of social time that they each need. Additionally, someone who is an entrepreneur, who is completely excited and energized by her growing business is going to feel very differently about spending 60-80 hours per week at work than the Read More . . .
I’ve been reading a lot of news stories lately about the accuracy of fitness trackers, which has been debate in the fitness community ever since I started in fitness over 10 years ago. The calorie readouts on the treadmills, ellipticals, and heart rate monitors were all that were available, back then. Soon after I started personal training, the bodybugg was introduced (and if you’re a long time reader, you know that I loved my bodybugg sooooo much that I became a reseller). It was expensive, but it was a great tool, and I finally felt like it offered the missing side of the equation to my food logging; you can log your food all you want, but unless you know how many calories you’re burning, you don’t have the full picture. Even if you are logging your food, how do you know if you’re consuming too many? Or not enough? I Read More . . .
Life gets in the way. Doesn’t it? How often do you plan to do something, but then, something else comes up? And then that thing that you wanted to do gets put on the back burner? I always kind-of laugh to myself when I make a big ‘life decision’ because it always seems like the universe conspires against me to make it not happen. What typically happens is that I’ll decide to make a change, and then 3 or 4 other events happen at the same time that make my situation that much more stressful. The best example of this I can give is when I moved from Chicago to Austin to live with my husband, Gary. Granted, moving across the country is already a HUGE, stressful event. But the reason I was moving was to be with my husband because we were in a long distance Read More . . .
I grew up learning that we should be eating 3 ‘square’ meals per day. I remember being taught in Home Economics class (6th grade) that a square meal consisted of Meat, Vegetables, Dairy, and Grain. So basically, a cheeseburger could be considered a ‘square meal’; it contains meat, lettuce & tomato make up the veg, cheese would check the dairy box, and the bun is a grain. Huh. As I entered my 30s, we started to get a little more sophisticated with our food. The low-fat craze was in full blown effect, vegetarianism was becoming more mainstream, and the new advice was to eat 6 smaller meals per day – so that you could keep your metabolism ‘revved up’ throughout the day. The thinking was that if you ate often enough, you could use the Thermic Effect of Food to help you burn calories for you (although that’s true, it doesn’t quite Read More . . .
Here’s the scene: You’re out to dinner with friends. It’s been a lovely dinner; you’ve really enjoyed the evening and have gotten completely swept up in the conversation. The server comes over to start clearing the plates & dishes. As he approaches you, and asks whether you’re finished, you look down at your plate. What do you see? What do you say? Is there food still on your plate? Are you finished eating? I am reading this great book called Mindless Eating. The author, Brian Wansink, a food researcher at Cornell, says that if you asked folks, “How do you know when you’re done eating?” or, “How do you know when to eat?” you’d think that most would answer these two questions with ‘I eat when I’m hungry; and I stop when I’m satisfied.’ But that’s not the case. Far too often we eat for other reasons. In the book, he exposes Read More . . .
I teach a class at the ungodly hour of 6AM on Mondays. It’s an hour. Its pretty intense. My client, who I typically meet later in the day, arrived as class was ending, and said, “Oh! That’s what I need to be doing.” Me: “Why?” Client: “Well, it’s an hour instead of 30 minutes, and I need that.” Me: “Why do you think you need that?” Client: “Because it would be better for me, to do more.” And isn’t that so true about what we’ve been taught about exercise? If some is good, more is better. Move more, eat less. That might be true for some folks – folks who aren’t moving and who aren’t really paying attention to their food choices. But what happens, is that advice falls on deaf ears, and the ones who hear it, aren’t the ones who need to. Its like when you get an Read More . . .
When I meet with clients for the first time, one of my first questions is always, “Why are you hiring me? Why now?” The range of answers is as diverse as my clients: some want to be able to play with their grandkids, some just want to be around to see their grandkids grow up, some have more aesthetic goals, like wanting to lose baby weight, or its spring (i.e.: bathing suit season), and some have an active vacation planned, where being in shape is definitely going to enhance their experience. None of these answers are better than another, BUUUUT…. Some motivations may create more lasting results than others. See, there are two different types of motivation: external and internal. External motivators are defined as behaviors that earn us a reward, or allow us to avoid punishment. Internal motivators are typically performed for the sake of doing them, or a Read More . . .
One of the things I love about going on vacation (other than the obvious) is that I get to talk to people who I’ve never met before: people who are completely different from me, who have different life experiences, and know totally different things! Of course, when they hear that I’m a Health Coach, they either they tell me how much they know about health and fitness, or they start confessing their diet and exercise sins as if I’m a health-priest, with the ability to absolve them of their fitness sins. Ha! But the other thing that I get is a TON of questions. Which I LOVE! Because A) I could talk about health and fitness all day long (just ask Gary) and B) There is SO MUCH misinformation ‘out there’ that I get to clear up – or at least, give folks another perspective. As I was talking to Read More . . .
Last week, I met this woman, socially. I don’t remember how we got on to the conversation, but she said, “I don’t like vegetables. I don’t eat them. I don’t eat fruit or seafood. I like meat and potatoes. And dessert! ” It’s not the first time I’ve heard an adult say ‘I don’t like veggies’. And sadly, I don’t think it will be the last. I usually don’t know how to respond to this. What I wanted to say is, “You’re freakin’ 60 years old! You’re not 5! Grow up & eat a freakin’ carrot! Pshaw!” It drives me nuts! Because, One – There are so many awesome, delicious veggies out there & so many ways to prepare them that are fantastic! And Two – How does this happen? How does a person grow into an adult and choose not to eat vegetables? They say that kids need exposure Read More . . .
Just last week I challenged myself to do an ungodly number of kettlebell swings for 8 straight days. Why on earth would I want to do that, and what would I learn? I don’t even think I was thinking about what I would learn. I was only wondering, ‘Can I do that?’ But I learned a LOT! I learned about my strength, how my body works, and also how a small shift in mindset can make a HUGE difference in my motivation. Why It all started innocently enough, I guess. I was getting up from the kitchen table quickly. I wasn’t watching where I was moving, and I kicked the kitchen table with my little toe. OUCH! But I brushed it off – how many times have you jammed your toe into something without consequence? Not that I’m totally clumsy, but it happens, and it hurts, and I forget Read More . . .
Yesterday when I woke, I drank my liquid wake up potion, and headed to my workout room to get that started. It was supposed to be a simple workout – one that I had done before & it would be over in 30 minutes. But yesterday the weight felt heavier than it usually does. My body didn’t move as well as it usually does. My push-ups and planks were harder. Everything just seemed so difficult. For some, this could have been permission to stop because I just didn’t ‘feel it’. I think that most people believe that we have to be motivated to exercise. Like every day I get up, jump out of bed with a smile on my face, and greet the day with a Tony the Tiger, “I Feel GGGRRRRRREEEAAT! I’m going to do lift weights with my TEETH!” Yeah – no. That doesn’t happen. I don’t even know Read More . . .
I don’t have time to do a full workout, so I’m just going to skip it. Does this sound familiar? I know that there was a time in my exercising life that I had this mindset: “Well, I can’t do the workout that I’m supposed to do, so why do it at all?” And so I get it. You want to be all in. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to doing it, it’s not worth doing. But here’s the thing: This mindset is holding you back. Because exercise doesn’t work that way. Health doesn’t work that way. Consistency is the true contributor to progress when it comes to exercise, eating, and your goals. I posted this on FaceBook the other day: Many folks feel that they need to be ‘on’ all the time, or follow their plan perfectly to get results. Yes, you do need to be ‘on’, Read More . . .